Self-love can feel like a really big mountain to climb – especially when most of us have been brought up to criticize and dislike our bodies for whatever reason. The media tells us we’re not good enough just as we are. Social media allows us to compare our bodies to models and women who look the way we think we “should”. We often have role models in our lives who spend their time yo-yo dieting, hating their bodies, and wishing they looked differently.
So with all of that conditioning and programming, it’s no wonder we’re living in a world filled with body image issues and body-hate.
Often my clients will ask: “I wouldn’t even know how to start loving my body. It seems impossible right now. How am I supposed to change every thought I’ve ever had about my body?”
And the truth is, you can’t change every single thought or belief right now, all at once. But you can practice, and try again, and practice some more. If you’ve spent your whole life hating your body (or certain body parts) and wishing it looked differently, you can’t expect to change that mindset in an instant. But what I’ll share with you today is one of the best practices you can use to start shifting that mindset from body-hate to love and acceptance. And it only takes a minute!
I’m going to walk you through this practice step by step, and I want you to follow along with it now. It’s super easy.
First, I want you to think about one part of your body that you really don’t like. It might be your tummy, or your legs, or you nose, or your feet… whatever it is, decide which body part you want to focus on right now. If you have more than one body part come to mind, just choose one and you can work on the others next time you do this exercise.
Once you’ve decided on the body part, I want you to list 3 amazing things that this body part allows you to do. Here’s some examples for you:
Arms – they allow me to hug my loved ones, throw a ball to my dog and make dinner for my family
Legs – they allow me to walk along the beach, my kids sit on my lap and I can run and play with my kids
Nose – it allows me to smell roses, and freshly baked cookies and alerts me to danger like fire or gas. It also allows me to breathe in fresh air every single day
Tummy – it carried (or will one day carry) my babies, it allows me to bend and stretch and move, it allows me to eat and digest delicious, nourishing food
You can use the above examples, or think up your own. Whatever your body part is, there is always a reason to be grateful for it, always something amazing that it is doing for you. It’s up to you whether you focus on the size of that body part, or the purpose of it. The exercise above is just a gentle reframe to help you a) remember that this body part helps you do great things, and b) that there are more important things in life than the size or shape of your body.
Isn’t hugging your loved one more important than the size of your arms?
Isn’t running and playing with your kids more important than the size or shape of your thighs?
We’re so programmed to care about the way our body looks, that we can so easily forget how incredible our bodies actually are. They are an incredible, intricate machine that is constantly working to keep us alive, thriving and well. Our bodies are constantly adjusting to our environment, fighting off illness, and digesting and absorbing nutrients from our food.
There are people in the world who would love to have working legs – and you’re too busy worried about the way they look, to even appreciate them.
You are so much more than your size. Remind yourself of the incredible functionality your body allows you – and be grateful for it. Little by little, by practicing this reframe, you’ll find yourself inching a little further away from body-hate and a little closer towards loving and accepting your body just the way it is.
Dannielle Illingworth is a naturopath, kinesiologist and author of “Quit Stressing About Food!”: Practical steps to simplify healthy eating for the whole family’. Through 1:1 coaching and group programs, Danni helps women create the change they desire in their lives. Book an appointment here.